1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Simmons
Senate Bill 2840
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS TO CONTRACT WITH THE MISSISSIPPI NATIONAL GUARD FOR PRE-RELEASE CENTERS, SERVICES AND PROGRAMS; TO AMEND SECTIONS 47-5-110 AND 47-5-181 IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 47-5-110, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
47-5-110. (1) Commitment to any institution or facility within the jurisdiction of the department shall be to the department, not to a particular institution or facility. The commissioner shall assign a newly committed offender to an appropriate facility consistent with public safety; provided, however, that any offender who, in the opinion of the sentencing judge, requires confinement in a maximum security unit shall be assigned, upon initial commitment, to the Parchman facility. The commissioner may extend the place of confinement of eligible offenders as provided under subsection (2) of this section. He may transfer an offender from one institution to another, consistent with the commitment and in accordance with treatment, training and security needs. The commissioner shall have the authority to transfer inmates from the various correctional facilities of the department to restitution centers. The commissioner shall prepare appropriate standards of eligibility for such transfers. The commissioner shall have the authority to remove the offenders from restitution centers and to transfer them to other facilities of the department. The commissioner shall obtain the approval of the sentencing court prior to transferring an offender committed to the department to a restitution center. On the request of the chief executive officer of the affected unit of local government, the commissioner may transfer a person detained in a local facility to a state facility. The commissioner shall determine the cost of care for that person to be borne by the unit of local government.
(2) The department may establish by rule or policy and procedure a community pre-release program which shall be subject to the following requirements:
(a) The commissioner may extend the limits of confinement of offenders serving sentences for violent or nonviolent crimes who have six (6) months or less remaining prior to release on parole, conditional release or discharge to participate in the program. Parole violators may be allowed to participate in the program.
(b) Any offender who is referred to the program shall remain an offender of the department and shall be subject to rules and regulations of the department pertaining to offenders of the department until discharged or released on parole or conditional release by the State Parole Board.
(c) The department shall require the offender to participate in work or educational or vocational programs and other activities that may be necessary for the supervision and treatment of the offender.
(d) An offender assigned to the program shall be authorized to leave a community pre-release center only for the purpose and time necessary to participate in the program and activities authorized in paragraph (c) of this subsection.
(3) The commissioner shall have absolute immunity from liability for any injury resulting from a determination by the commissioner that an offender shall be allowed to participate in the community pre-release program.
(4)(a) The department may by rule or policy and procedure provide the regimented inmate discipline program and pre-release service for offenders at each of its major correctional facilities: Mississippi State Penitentiary, Central Mississippi Correctional Institution and South Mississippi Correctional Institution.
(b) The commissioner may establish regimented inmate discipline and pre-release programs at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution. Offenders assigned to this facility may receive the services provided by the regimented inmate discipline program. The pre-release program may be located on the grounds of this facility or another facility designated by the commissioner.
(5) The department may contract with the Mississippi National Guard for pre-release centers, services and programs. The department shall establish the requirements for inmate participation in the pre-release program with the National Guard.
SECTION 2. Section 47-5-181, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
47-5-181. (1) The department may convert four (4) community work centers to pre-release centers. The department shall convert the community work centers as follows: one (1) center in the northern part of the state, two (2) centers in the central part of the state, and one (1) center in the southern part of the state.
(2) The department may place any inmate in a pre-release center if: (a) the inmate is within one (1) year of his release date, and (b) the inmate is approved for placement by the classification committee and the commissioner.
(3) The department shall notify, by certified mail, each member of the board of supervisors of the county in which the center is located of the department's intent to convert the community work center to a pre-release center. The board of supervisors shall have thirty (30) days after the date of the mailing to disapprove the conversion of the center. If the board of supervisors disapproves of the pre-release center, the department shall not convert the community work center.
(5) The department may renovate any facilities provided by the Mississippi National Guard for pre-release programs.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.